Thai Cabinet approves long-term tourist visas for Thailand for up to 270 days

This moving walkway at Don Mueang airport, Bangkok, has few people in the absence of tourists. The cabinet on Tuesday resolved to welcome back long-stay foreign tourists, on condition they agree to quarantine and provide proof of payment of somewhere to stay. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Thai Cabinet approves long-term tourist visas for Thailand for up to 270 days

Quarantine compulsory, 90-day renewable stay

The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to allow in foreign tourists who agree to 14-day quarantine and stay for at least 90 days, to help the flagging economy.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said after the cabinet meeting that the government would issue special tourist visas for long-stay visitors. The most important condition would be a 14-day quarantine.

“Visitors can arrive for tourism or health services, and they can stay at alternative state quarantine facilities, specific areas or at hospitals that function as quarantine facilities,” he said.

“Our public health system is amongst the best in the world and people can have confidence in it.”

The prime minister said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration would later elaborate on the matter.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul said long-stay visitors would have to present proof of payment for their long stay in the country. This could be payment for a hotel reservation, or the lease of a condominium room.

“The target is to welcome 100-300 visitors a week, or up to 1,200 people a month, and generate income of about 1 billion baht a month,” she said.

The 90-day special tourist visa could be extended twice, for 90 days each time. Long-stay visitors could begin arriving next month, Ms Traisulee said.

Prasong Poontaneat, finance permanent secretary, said the country needed to generate income from visitors, especially those from the countries where coronavirus disease had not been spreading in past months – such as China, Taiwan and some counries in Europe.

Twenty Chinese provinces were free of Covid-19 and had a combined population of around 800 million. If only one percent of them, about 8 million people, visited Thailand they could support the tourism sector, he said.